In a Twitter rant yesterday about a local restaurant that serves a barbecue beef brisket to die for, I revealed to my followers:
As it turns out, “the streets was watching” and my fitness encourager @T_Poin of Surely Tiff was, too. Her response, “yes this is true #fixit.” I wish it was that easy. In one of last week’s post, I told you guys about my experience with the Diabetes education course and how the instructors taught us about food. We learned all about how it works for and against us. One thing that stuck out to me is one of the instructors telling us that our most important medication wasn’t the pills or the insulin, it was our food. With all that information, the one thing they didn’t teach us is how to resist.
Every person has their guilty pleasure. That treat, snack, meal, junk food that they can’t say no to. Some of us have more than others. Some of us way more, but the point is when you find out you’re a diabetic, you almost always have to let go of a lot of the foods you love. When you’re an emotional eater, it become doubly hard, specifically if you haven’t yet learned which foods you can eat and which ones you can’t.
Tip: The best way to figure out which foods cause spikes in your blood sugar is to keep a food journal of the things you eat for at least a week and check your blood sugar two hours after eating. That way you can establish somewhat of a pattern and figure out which foods you can have regularly.
During my process, I found out that rice, strawberries, orange juice, white bread, pastas with bleached flour and most snack cakes (that I shouldn’t eat anyway) are all things that I shouldn’t eat a lot of because it causes huge spikes in my blood sugar. Well, I saw this as a problem because, well, I’m Southern. And we all know, most respectable Southerners eat rice, white rice, on a regular basis. Strawberries are my favorite fruit. My mornings didn’t start without a glass of Minute Maid OJ and who doesn’t eat mac n’ cheese and spaghetti on a regular?
Well, my habits had to change. I eat rice occasionally now and it’s usually brown. I limit my strawberry intake during the spring to only three or four at a time. *sad face* I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had OJ or white bread or pasta that wasn’t whole wheat. And I have replaced the majority of my snack cakes with granola bars. Sure they’re peanut butter chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin ones, but they have less sugar and fat than Little Debbie cakes. Hey, it’s a process, right? The nasty habit didn’t develop overnight and I can’t kick it overnight.
I find that I’m going through this process again as, per my last doctor’s visit, my A1C* (average blood sugar levels over a 2-3 month period) have been getting worse. The goal my primary care physician set for me was to have my A1C register at about a 7 or as close to it as I can get. I was at an 8.3. A person with normal blood sugar should register at about a 5.5 or below. Registering at 5.7-6.5 puts you in the prediabetes stage which means if you don’t make some serious changes, you are likely to develop the disease. The higher the number, the more likely you are to have complications.
So, today’s lesson for diabetics, keep track of what you’re eating and check your blood sugar to see how those foods are affecting your body. The lesson for non-diabetics is to make sure your doctor adds an A1C test to your physical. If you have any risk factors or a history of diabetes in your family, it’s important that you know your status about this as you would your HIV status. This, too, could be a matter of life and death.